Cincinnati Council will likely approve an ordinance Tuesday telling city administrators to complete the first phase of the streetcar project in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. The action comes as the city's new mayor, John Cranley, has vowed to stop the plan.
Council's Budget and Finance Committee approved the ordinance Monday after a conference call with Dorval Carter, who's the chief counsel for the Federal Transit Administration. The FTA has provided funding for the city project. He said requests to pause or cancel a project are relatively rare.
Cincinnati Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will hear a presentation Thursday about how much it would cost to stop the city’s streetcar project. Council members will be able to ask questions, but the public will not be able to testify.
Project Executive John Deatrick will make the presentation for the city’s administration. It’s unknown if he’ll identify a specific amount for cancelling the project, or offer a range.
Supporters of the Cincinnati streetcar are asking people to contact mayor-elect John Cranley and council members-elect to keep the project alive. Cranley campaigned against it and vowed to stop it if elected.
Streetcar supporters held a public forum Thursday night at the Mercantile Library in downtown. An overflow crowd watched the session on the video board at Fountain Square.
Supporters said the project is important for three reasons: reputation, community and the future.
Ryan Messer is one of the grassroots organizers trying to save the streetcar.
Over-the-Rhine Community members and business owners are rallying support for the streetcar project in the wake of last week's election. They're calling on the mayor-elect and new council members to keep the streetcar moving forward.
Derek dos Anjos owns a seafood restaurant near the streetcar route.
"I moved here two years ago from New York, NY and I've seen first hand what light rail can do for a city," says dos Anjos. "It would be a big shame if we didn't continue the streetcar. My business is depending on it. Mr. Cranley, please don't do this."